15 June 2006
Prime Minister Stephen Harper today announced a contribution of $15 million to the Asian Development Bank to help rural Afghans increase the productivity of their land. The funding will be used to repair irrigation systems damaged by years of conflict and neglect. Helping the land flourish again will have a direct impact on the lives of thousands of the poorest Afghan families for years to come.
Prime Minister Harper underlined Canada's resolve to contribute to the development of a free democratic and peaceful Afghanistan. "As I said on May 17, when this House voted to extend Canada’s mission to Afghanistan, our Government is committed to helping rebuild this shattered nation," said Prime Minister Harper.
Canada, a major donor, has been lauded by the Afghan Government for its support for a number of development projects in that country, which include:
• Providing small loans for people starting small businesses;
• Helping women acquire the skills and education needed for work; and
• Helping farmers find alternatives to growing poppies.
Canada is also helping the Afghan Government remove unsecured ammunition and other ordinance that impede reconstruction.
In closing, the Prime Minister stated "This announcement represents one more building block in this work, and another step in the journey we are taking with our allies and the Afghan people to establish a peaceful, prosperous and democratic Afghanistan."
Today’s announcement is part of Canada’s total contribution of nearly $1 billion over 10 years aimed at ensuring that Afghans have the tools they need to restart their lives. The financing announced is built into the existing fiscal framework.